Before you start
This tutorial introduces you to capabilities of the Java language that are more sophisticated than those covered in the "Introduction to Java programming" tutorial (see Resources for a link to this and other material referenced in this tutorial). In order to get to the most out of this tutorial, you should have completed that introductory tutorial, or be familiar with the concepts covered in it.
The Java language provides a vast set of tools that can help a programmer accomplish almost any task. In this tutorial, we'll cover a few of the more advanced tools that are commonly used on Java development projects, including the following:
- Inheritance and abstraction
- Nested classes
- Regular expressions
The content of this tutorial is geared toward moderately experienced Java programmers who might not be familiar with some of the more involved features of the language. It assumes a general knowledge of downloading and installing software, and a general knowledge of object-oriented programming (OOP) with the Java language. You might not use the more advanced Java language features we'll talk about here in every application -- in fact, you probably shouldn't -- but it's wise for a professional programmer to know about them and be able to use them when appropriate.
In addition to familiarity with the concepts covered in the "Introduction to Java programming" tutorial see Resources), you'll need to have the following installed to run the examples or sample code in this tutorial:
- JDK 1.4.2 or higher (5.0 recommended)
- The Eclipse IDE
All code examples in this tutorial have been tested with JDK 5.0 on the Windows XP platform, but should work without modification using JDK 1.4.x. You can download source code for the tutorial from Resources. It's contained in intermediate.jar, which you can import into your Eclipse workspace.
The sample JAR file does not necessarily contain the code for every example in this tutorial in its final form. Instead, it contains the core of what we'll cover, minus some of the iterative modifications that we'll apply to the code as we progress through the article. Modifying the core to explore the language features we'll cover in this tutorial is left as an exercise for you.